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Trench for leeks?

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Trench for leeks?

Post  Roseinarosecity on 9/21/2011, 1:06 pm

I want to try leeks but it looks like a lot of work to get those long white stalks. The seed pack says to dig a 6" trench, plant 4 seeds at 1/2" deep 6" apart, thin to 6" when 1" tall. Then when they are 6-8 inches add 1" soil; keep adding 1 " soil every 3 weeks!

Is my MM soil going to be able to maintain it's wall of this trench? Help! There's got to be a better way.

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  middlemamma on 9/21/2011, 2:57 pm

I think most start leeks inside and transplant outside into a trench they can hill up.

I think the adding soil is the only way to get the long white part. I know I am not much of a help, but I know MM will work just fine, many have done it. I don't think it is as hard as it sounds written all out on the seed packet.

Thanks for reminding me I have leeks I should plant too!

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  camprn on 9/21/2011, 7:21 pm

I used this method for transplanting my leeks this season and it has worked out very well. Just a note, leeks are not as hardy as onions and will not winter over here in my area, zone 5a. Sad

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  Roseinarosecity on 9/22/2011, 11:37 am

Thanks for posting that video, originally I couldn't get my audio to work. Looks like I need to start with transplants. If I heard correctly, he says, every time you water the holes, a little dirt fills it in. Which means, I never have to go back and fill the dirt with an inch of soil because when I water each hole the water naturally fills up the hole. The holes for the transplants appear to be 4" apart. What would be a good substitute for that large dowel he uses? He said the hole has to be 6" deep and with a 2" radius.

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  camprn on 9/22/2011, 2:36 pm

His dibble was made from a chair leg. I made my own dibble with a broken snow shovel handle, which I had carved grooves every inch onto the handle, so I can see how deep the hole is. Instead of straight rows, I offset the seedlings when planted. Very Happy

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/17/2012, 6:38 pm

Where do you find leeks? It is one of the things I want to grow. Can't find seeds or plants.

Am I maybe too early?

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  camprn on 2/17/2012, 6:42 pm

@AvaDGardner wrote:Where do you find leeks? It is one of the things I want to grow. Can't find seeds or plants.

Am I maybe too early?
I just last week planted leek seeds. You should be able to find them at your local nursery/seed supply store. Very Happy

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/17/2012, 6:57 pm

@camprn wrote:
@AvaDGardner wrote:Where do you find leeks? It is one of the things I want to grow. Can't find seeds or plants.

Am I maybe too early?
I just last week planted leek seeds. You should be able to find them at your local nursery/seed supply store. Very Happy

That's just it...I can't! I've looked at 5 different stores - chains, moms & pops, farm supply...nuthin'!

Where did you get yours? What brand are they?

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  camprn on 2/17/2012, 7:47 pm

I bought mine at my local grain and feed store/ garden shop. High Mowing Seeds has a nice variety of seed available. I grew King Richard leeks last year and that is what I have sown this year too, though I would like to try other varieties.
http://www.hawthornfarm.ca/images/leek/leek_kingrichard.jpg

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  AvaDGardner on 2/17/2012, 10:09 pm

They are HUGE! Thanks for the photo!

Now if I only lived in NH...

I'm headed to the largest seed garden store (privately owned) I know of tomorrow.
If he doesn't have it I'll have to go online.

I hope they taste as good as they look!

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  camprn on 2/18/2012, 6:04 am

Leeks taste wonderful! Good luck on your hunt!

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  AvaDGardner on 3/20/2012, 1:21 pm

This is such a great thread. I love the idea of the grooved post to keep you on track of how much dirt they need.

I did find leek seeds, at that last private store. He had the entire line of Botanical Interest's seeds.

I did plant some, but with out the trench. I may be able to mound them up a bit.

Yummy!

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  Roseinarosecity on 3/20/2012, 5:50 pm

I planted King Richard leeks in the fall from seeds I bought at Armstrong Nursery. The December 1st winds of last year covered them up and some did not make it. I found American Flag leek transplants in my local Pasadena nursery in a six-pack and put them in this month. They look almost the same size as my original planting.
These are the surviving King Richard original leeks on the left:


These are the new American Flag leek transplants:


My husband made a dibble from a broken branch of our avocado tree.



I like this method of planting the leeks because I don't have to think about covering the leeks as they grow. But, like onions, leeks sure take a long time to grow. I have no idea when I will harvest those large leeks like they sell in the stores.

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  camprn on 3/20/2012, 5:56 pm

OOOOH,very nice dibble! Very Happy

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  ericam on 3/20/2012, 7:06 pm

I planted my leek seedlings straight in my SFG without the trench (didn't know I had to do that until after I planted), can I use a short top hat and just keep adding MM?

If so how deep does the MM have to be, someone said 1" every 3 weeks but for how long?

Thanks, Erica

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hilling vs trenching vs high top risers

Post  curio on 3/20/2012, 7:11 pm

I have decided to build 4" risers to go around my leeks when they're too tall to cover in the box they're in. I poked holes about 3" deep and then pushed the little guys' bases/roots to the bottom and then knocked a bit of soil in on top. I also give leek and onion seedlings a haircut prior to transplanting, making them no more than 3" or so long. This means the tops of these little guys are just barely above the ground level around their holes, but the stem is exposed from top to just above the roots. When they reach about 5" long from base to top, I'll poke a bit more soil in around them, and when they're a couple of inches higher, will fill the holes to the top. At that point, I'll need to either hill them or build a short riser so I can add more mix. I think it would be easier to just build a riser.

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  quiltbea on 3/20/2012, 7:22 pm

Very informative, thank you. I'm putting in leeks this year, for the first time ever. Never even ate them before but family and I are trying to eat healthier, ergo: more veggies and fruits in our eating plans. I even have to replan my garden boxes, once again (but honestly, I love planning with paper and pencil) to reflect our changes this year.

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  plantoid on 3/20/2012, 7:32 pm

Curio ,

I'm soon to follow you with planting of leeks in MM using 4 inch lifts.

In the last few days I've read a fairly recently published book that reports .. extnsive research in Belgium shows that there is no need to top and tailm the leek plants ..infact the research shows that haircut and toenails jobbies are growth retarding abdn do not as thought make for a profuse growth of new vigorous roots.

The Belgies are big on growing massive veg and have done massive trials and lots of research over the years.



I've always topped and tailed leeks & onins transplants .. from now on I'll do my own tests now that I'm fully ANSFG' ing in MM .

With the four inch lifts are you going to have 1 inch square battons as guides in each corner so that there is reduced risk of knocking the lifts out of true and damaging the leek etc ?

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  curio on 3/20/2012, 7:46 pm

I still have leeks to plant that were seeded at the same time, so will compare those with and without the haircut. I did it primarily so they wouldn't flop over onto the "soil" (they were over 6" long). I didn't trim the roots at all.

The risers I'll build will be out of 1x4's, with "L" brackets at each corner to keep them plumb. I probably could mark the inside of each one at 1" increments with a sharpie marker. Since I have two squares side by side, one of the risers might be 1x2', just to save on supplies. I tend to like to plant two squares of different things when possible, since I can then give them any special requirements more easily.

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  ericam on 3/21/2012, 7:41 am

Put my mini top hat on my leeks today and added an inch of soil. How do I know when to add more?



Oh, and how high do I go? My top hat is about 5" high.


Last edited by ericam on 3/21/2012, 7:43 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Another question...)

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/21/2012, 8:52 am

@plantoid wrote: ...snip...In the last few days I've read a fairly recently published book that reports .. extnsive research in Belgium shows that there is no need to top and tailm the leek plants ..infact the research shows that haircut and toenails jobbies are growth retarding abdn do not as thought make for a profuse growth of new vigorous roots. ...


Awesome plantoid. I've clipped the tops and toes of leeks for so long that I don't even think of not doing so. I don't do it for growth but for prevention of transpiration.

I also do not trench leeks. I'm just happy if they do not make seed pods too soon. When I planted them the first timein a sfg, I did this thing where I made a cone to spread the roots on (like you would do when planting a strawberry) AND put them in deep enough to bury them to the first joint (sometimes the only joint)



Last spring I was still trying to figure out how I would do leeks in a square foot garden, how many? How deep? You can see in this picture that they did not all get planted to the first joint (it can get tedious) BUT you can easily see what I mean by the first joint (I hope). You can also see the cone.

I no longer make a cone. That was a throw-back to gardening in a bed. At that time I made a trench, built up a ridge of nearly pure compost, set the leeks on the ridge and back filled the trench. This year I will still trim so I can poke them in the mix and not have the rootlets all pointing up instead of out. (does that make sense?) It can take too much time to plant enough leeks to get me through winter when I am getting too fussy.

One thing I did learn that is still useful in the sfg is that I do not need to use soil to hill up leeks and make them tender. I can use raw garden mulch (leaves, grass clippings). It works just as well for me and they seem so much cleaner when I use them.




These have plenty of blanched (white) stem to them, are clean and tender-sweet. There is also a large area of transition (green stripes) that I use as if they were white. The idea for using leaves was to keep the mix from freezing around the leeks so that I do not need a pick-axe to harvest them when it freezes. A box might keep it all looking neater BUT I don't add the leaves until I start cleaning up the garden and get ready to plant garlic etc. in fall. Conveniently, that is when there are leaves to gather.

Debs ....only uses leeks in winter-spring, onions are for summer-fall

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  curio on 3/21/2012, 9:12 am

Thanks Deb... that makes perfect sense Smile I agree about the winter/spring for leeks and summer/fall for onions Smile

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  AvaDGardner on 3/28/2012, 7:56 pm

Alliums confound me...some are called onions, some are not (like leeks & shallots), they all taste like onions (except garlic, of course), and now some are cool and some are warm. And they all take FOREVER (120 days?!?!) it seems.

I planted leek seeds but haven't seen any action yet. Not sure how I'd work out the needing to cover/trench/blanch to get the extended white zone. First I have to get plants!

Sometimes I think my brassica & allium box is going to be a perennial!

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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  Roseinarosecity on 4/25/2012, 1:52 pm

Sideshoots are developing in my leeks I planted in the fall. Did I wait to long to harvest?


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Re: Trench for leeks?

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/25/2012, 1:59 pm

@Roseinarosecity wrote:Sideshoots are developing in my leeks I planted in the fall. Did I wait to long to harvest?


Yes and no. Mine do that too. It is fresh spring leeks and old stressed leeks. Both make good soup, the spring seem sweeter in potatoes and eggs. The mother leek will have a slightly bulbous end and often the outer layer has thickened and gone softish, peel it off, use the rest. Be not afraid

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